The Jasmine Tree | Teen Ink

The Jasmine Tree MAG

May 26, 2019
By YuweiDou BRONZE, Pleasanton, California
YuweiDou BRONZE, Pleasanton, California
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As the rain fell lightly from the sky, the old jasmine tree stood, unmoving, but the flowers flew down, all white like snow but with bright yellow underbellies. I sat down on the gray boulder with my two friends Chun and Liya from school. We used colorful chalk to draw our castle and then used our handmade “Shabao” plushies to act like the people inside. It was April in the city, the best weather I could ever have. However, the spring there was always short. After I lived there for fourteen years, it was still hard for me to catch the “true spring” – those perfect weather days. Summer always came so fast. That year, the rain lasted about a week, and it was finally the season for the jasmine flowers to bloom. Today, kids from school ran past the bushes near the street, some in a hurry to go back home to eat their mother’s handmade milk ice cream, others to fly kites in the field, but none seemed to notice the jasmine tree flowering overhead.

Grandma was there, sitting on her old red wooden chair, wearing her white silk qipao and her dark green cloth shoes. She sat there quietly reading her favorite book A Dream in Red Mansions and drinking her favorite jasmine flower tea.  

The flowers flew from the tree and landed on our chalk-drawn castle. Chun suddenly asked: “Oh, Lucy, how old is this jasmine tree? You said it’s more than 200 years old, right?”

“No, it’s nearly 400 years old. And it’s been here since Grandma was a little girl like us,” I replied but kept my eyes on the tree. It was so tall, almost growing into the sky. I couldn’t even see the top. It was so huge, even ten people could not hug it using their arms. Grandma told me once that the tree was planted 400 years ago and started this life with my Grandma’s family. It has witnessed the prosperous times and the declines. In the 1920s, one rainy day, a flash came down from the sky, and boom! The middle of the tree was split in two. Everyone thought it would die, but it kept standing for almost a century after, just like my grandma has.

Suddenly, I heard a sound. I glanced back and saw Grandma standing up. She didn’t say anything but just went straight toward our kitchen. She opened the yellow wooden door, and I saw her shadow. With the rainbow’s light reflecting on the exterior of the house, I heard the sound of a pot being opened, the smell of something good drifting into the sky and spreading into my nose. Oh, it was the smell of the jasmine flower, but it was a little different. What’s that? A new kind of food? Did grandma make it? I turned back to Chun and Liya with the question marks in my head.

“Lucy, Chun, Liya, come here. Let’s have some jasmine flower cakes!” The sound of Grandma’s voice went into my ear. I saw Grandma was standing there outside. She was so pretty within the white silk qipao – simple but elegant. She held the jade green plate in her hand, and on it were the white jasmine flower cakes. She didn’t move. She just stood there smiling at me – so warm, so sweet, like an angel from the sky.

The sunshine of April shone on her. With the warm light, the jasmine flower cakes looked like treasures. Grandma kept smiling and moved toward us. In her white clothes and green shoes, she was like a flower. She sat near the tree and put down the plate for us. “Let’s try it! It’s a snack I always had when I was young. I used the jasmine flower from this tree to make it,” she said.

She handed me a cake. I put it in the middle of my hand, looked at it as if enjoying a piece of art. The cake was as big as a cupcake, all white, with six red spots shaped like a flower. I put it near my nose. The smell of jasmine mixed with flour. I bit into the cake and felt the soft texture in my mouth. The jasmine flower juice, red bean paste, and jasmine flowers made it taste not overly sweet, but just right. Chun and Liya all took a cake from the plate and ate. We gobbled up the remaining flour crumbs left behind. The rainbow was still hanging in the sky, the seven colors of it shining on the tree and on the flowers. The colors reflected in the white flowers and made rainbow petals.

Grandma sat there, smiling at our chalk drawn castle, and I imagined that she thought about her own childhood. We turned our heads to each other and smiled. With the fresh smell of the jasmine, the happiness was all around me. For me, happiness was the time I spent in childhood with my grandma, playing with my friends, eating the homemade food Grandma made, and sitting together under the old jasmine tree.

Last summer, I visited grandma. The tree was still there, but my friends had all moved to the other cities. Outside the house, the bushes were gone. All around, tall office buildings stood shading her yard. But Grandma was still there, and the jasmine tree was still there. Grandma stood at the door of the house and smiled at me. Then she turned back into the kitchen to grab taro rice cakes. I sat down with her on the rock. She held my hand, and I leaned on her shoulder, listening to the happy songs from childhood.

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